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Learning exclusively with authentic video

 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4705 days ago

9753 posts - 15775 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 49 of 170
20 October 2014 at 7:08pm | IP Logged 
garyb wrote:
As far as I've seen, pretty much everybody here advocates a combination of traditional study and lots of listening. The differences are just on details like how much of each, when to introduce native materials, etc. Traditional study having failed for a lot of people doesn't necessarily mean that traditional study is bad and those people should have done other things instead; more likely they should have done other things as well.


depends on how traditional is traditional, haha. I think most of us agree that choosing the materials is just the first step and the techniques matter much more. Many of these techniques can be used with easy native materials/dictionaries/translations.

Edited by Serpent on 20 October 2014 at 7:14pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3538 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 50 of 170
21 October 2014 at 7:02am | IP Logged 
I admire those people who have written detailed posts about the subject here. I really can't be bothered. Starting
with the title of the thread, I believe the whole thing boils down to the following question:

Can a language learner, either the experienced professional or the beginner, learn Mandarin passively just by
exclusively watching authentic videos without translation for 30 minutes a day?

In my mind, the answer is clearly: NO. End of story.
2 persons have voted this message useful



smallwhite
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 3416 days ago

537 posts - 1045 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin, French, Spanish

 
 Message 51 of 170
21 October 2014 at 7:07am | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
I admire those people who have written detailed posts about the subject here.

...

In my mind, the answer is clearly: NO. End of story.


I admire both the people who respond to this 30-minute thing, and those who respond to that 300-word thing.
4 persons have voted this message useful



patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2641 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 52 of 170
21 October 2014 at 2:07pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
Can a language learner, either the experienced professional or the beginner, learn Mandarin passively just by
exclusively watching authentic videos without translation for 30 minutes a day?


Except that he is watching with English subtitles, so it's not a pure experiment (not that I am sure what a pure experiment would mean anyway).

Edited by patrickwilken on 21 October 2014 at 2:07pm

2 persons have voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3640 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 53 of 170
21 October 2014 at 2:53pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:
s_allard wrote:
Can a language learner, either the experienced professional or the beginner, learn Mandarin passively just by
exclusively watching authentic videos without translation for 30 minutes a day?

Except that he is watching with English subtitles, so it's not a pure experiment (not that I am sure what a pure experiment would mean anyway).

I find it interesting that he's so close to where I'd personally place the dividing line between possible and hopeless. If he tried listening to Mandarin news radio covering local events in China, I'd expect the chance of success to be zero. If did some Assimil lessons, or made MCD cards, or messed around with subs2srs, I'd expect his chance of success to go up quickly. But he's an experienced language learner, watching kid's TV, with and without English subtitles—and he has enough dedication to stick with it for a year. It seems plausible that he might eventually succeed. I mean, thanks to the pictures, and the subtitles, and the huge amount of time available, there's got to be some "i+1" input in there somewhere.

I keep mentioning subs2srs in this thread because it does a few things which might help:

1. It presents the audio with bilingual subtitles.
2. It provides efficient repetition.
3. It creates "earworms". You know how you can often sing the lyrics of a song, and even get the intonation mostly correct?

Out of all the intensive listening tools I've tried, subs2srs allows me to stretch beyond my current level by the widest margin, and it does the best job of burning stuff into memory. The second best thing I've found is endlessly looping audio and trying to write it down, but even that is less effective in the long run. 150 hours of subs2srs with interesting native materials would go a very long way.
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victorhart
Bilingual Tetraglot
Groupie
United States
mandarinexperiment.o
Joined 1815 days ago

66 posts - 155 votes 
Speaks: English*, Portuguese*, Spanish, French
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 54 of 170
21 October 2014 at 3:20pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
Can a language learner, either the experienced professional or the
beginner, learn Mandarin passively just by exclusively watching authentic videos
without translation for 30 minutes a day?

In my mind, the answer is clearly: NO. End of story.


patrickwilken wrote:
from what I can see you aren't serious about putting in the
requisite number of hours. As such this just seems to be like some sort of stunt which
you want to blog about. I don't get the impression you are serious about learning
Mandarin.



The idea of the blog came much later than the idea for the experiment, and it's not
like I'm making money off of it or generating a large amount of traffic.

I agree that 30 minutes is far too little, and my initial idea was two hours per day,
but I just can't fit it in (I'm currently at 35 minutes daily and I do hope up that
slightly over time). My question, however--setting aside for a minute your objections
to the video-only methodology--is why one can't be serious about studying a language
with 30 minutes a day. Do you think retention will be too greatly compromised?

To me, the only limitation to such a small daily commitment of time is that learning
will take a very long time. My hypothesis is that I will attain an intermediate level
of listening comprehension after 6.5 years (or 1,200 hours). Even if I do reach that
goal, if I continue afterwards with the same time restrictions, I'm guessing I would
take a similar amount of time to achieve advanced comprehension and perhaps twice that
again to speak fluently. So, without adding characters and reading, that would be like
26 years!

OK, I can see why you think this is a stunt, but the truth is I'm at a point in my
life that I feel like I can make such long term plans. And if I'm speaking fluent
Mandarin at 61 years old without having had to sacrifice anything (except a silly
online blitz chess habit) and becoming a total Chinese cinema buff, what's the harm
done? I also believe that at some point down the line (perhaps when my daughter is
all grown up) I will be able to put in significantly more time.

Your doubts about my prospects for success are absolutely legitimate, but c'mon
patrickwilken and s_allard, you don't find any redeeming value to the experiment?


Edited by victorhart on 21 October 2014 at 4:05pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



victorhart
Bilingual Tetraglot
Groupie
United States
mandarinexperiment.o
Joined 1815 days ago

66 posts - 155 votes 
Speaks: English*, Portuguese*, Spanish, French
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 55 of 170
21 October 2014 at 3:25pm | IP Logged 
emk and others,

I do have a word list where I jot down the my own phonetic version of words I am able
to decipher (one per day on average) and the exact movie or video source and time in
which it appears. The goal is to help focus my listening and be able to zero in on
those terms when I watch the movie a second (or third, fourth, fifth) time.
Occasionally (and hopeflly increasingly), I also write down a phonetic transcription
of the phrase in which that word occurred.

Is there any kind of electronic flashcard or other digital tool that might help me
organize this better?


(Again, the point is to assist in re-watching video sources, and not to study the list
in isolation).

Edited by victorhart on 21 October 2014 at 4:01pm

1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3640 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 56 of 170
21 October 2014 at 4:12pm | IP Logged 
victorhart wrote:
Is there any kind of electronic flashcard or other digital tool that might help me organize this better?

(Again, the point is to assist in re-watching video sources, and not to study the list
in isolation).

I think it might be useful to explain how I use subs2srs. I start with:

1. A movie or TV show that I utterly adore, because I'll be repeatedly watching pieces of it out of order.
2. (Mostly) accurate subtitles in my target language.
3. Subtitles in my native language.

I spend an afternoon in full geek mode with some combination of Handbrake, subtitle OCR software, subs2srs and custom Anki card templates, and when I'm done, I have a deck of about 1,000 flash cards for a typical movie.

Here's what the cards look like on my phone. On the left, you have a card with a small image and an audio clip. On the right, you have the back of the card:



Some things worth noticing:

1. The audio and the image are the most prominent part of each card.
2. The French subtitles are present on the back, but I only look at them if I'm in doubt.
3. The English subtitles are printed in a smaller font, so I'm encouraged to ignore them.
4. The subtitles include three lines: the current line, the one before and the one after. Similarly, the audio includes an extra ~1.5 seconds before and after. This gives me more context, and makes the cards useful even if the alignment is off.

Some advice for reviewing:

1. Aim to delete 80–90% of cards on the first pass, and another good chunk after a few reviews. You only want to keep the stuff that's interesting.
2. Pass the card if you can more-or-less understand it.
3. Don't stress about about choosing the right button.
4. Start introducing about 10 cards per day for the first month.

What to expect:

1. Anything you can understand in isolation on a single card can be burned into your head like an annoying top 40 lyric, complete with intonation.
2. Within 20 to 30 days, even really difficult cards may undergo a weird transition where they suddenly seem perfectly obvious.
3. Rewatching the original material after a month should show a dramatic difference.

I used this a lot at the intermediate stage. I only stopped using it because it's too annoying to go through the whole ripping/OCRing/card making process when I understand 90+% of the dialog on a TV show. If I had a one-button version of this that I could use the capture hard bits of dialog on French TV with no hassle, I'd still use it heavily today.

This seems like it might be very much in keeping with the philosophy of your experiment: It uses nothing but TV and subtitles, it involves no explicit grammar study, and once you've spent a day fighting with the tools, the actual process of reviewing the cards is brainless and fun, and it can be done in a low-energy state. Seriously, these are the easiest cards in my deck.

What this would add to your experiment: Focused repetition of the most important lines of dialog, maintaining much of the original context. You could pick a favorite movie or episode, spend a month reviewing it in subs2srs, then go back and watch the original with greatly boosted comprehension.

You may also be able to find pre-made subs2srs decks for cool Mandarin movies. You might consider downloading a deck for your favorite movie, and maybe doing 5 new cards a day, just to see what happens. Or if you decide not to do this now, keep it mind for later, in case you reach the 500 hour mark without seeing as much progress as you want.

Edited by emk on 21 October 2014 at 4:18pm



3 persons have voted this message useful



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